|THE BLACK LIST: FOR FUCK'S SAKE, COULD YOU WALK ANY SLOWER?!|
|By The Black Table|
There's been quite a bit of hoopla in the press lately about the hordes of people looking to escape New York City while the GOP is in town. We at The Black Table believe in a welcoming spirit for all of you out-of-towners who visit this fair city, despite your misguided insistence on visiting restaurants such as The Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse. To assist you folks, here are a couple of simple rules you should know.
First off, the foot speed of an average New Yorker is approximately 447 miles per hour. Please adjust your walking habits accordingly. You cannot walk six abreast on the sidewalk here like you're in the opening credits of 90210, eyes aloft toward tall buildings above. We don't say hello to people as we walk by, either; there are eight million people in the street. It's nothing political, you see. You're just getting in the fucking way.
We're a friendly people. It should be noted that we're especially helpful when being asked for directions, because we like to show off how smart we are. The correct response to directions given generously, however, is not, "Oh, 11 blocks, huh. Should I take a cab?" No, you should not. Anything short of a ride to the airport demands another type of transportation, unless you're completely wasted and navigating that special area where 4th Street crosses 12th Street. Please, try to pay attention.
Finally, the Hard Rock Café, "Mama Mia," ESPN Zone and Schlotsky's Deli are not attractions. Period. The Empire State Building counts. So does Carmine's, the Flatiron Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Katz's on the Lower East Side. Plan your touristing accordingly. And tip your waitresses. That is all. Have fun.
The Black List is jam-packed this week, with an all-time-high of 14 submissions. More, more, more, give us more, feed the beast. Use the form on the right. Huzzah!
DAVE CHAPPELLE'S SHOWTIME SPECIAL: Dave Chappelle is NOT "Rick James, Bitch." And he's not Li'l John going, "Wha-haaat??!!" Dave Shogun (his Wu-Tang name) turns 31 this Tuesday, and he's a standup comedian who's about to have a career peak after 17 years of chasing a dream. Don't get me wrong; I think "Chappelle's Show" is quality TV. But watching Dave hold court with a mike in hand is like watching a standup-comedy clinic. Whoopi Goldberg once said his act reminded her of Richard Pryor in his prime. And in a world where cool is often defined by trying to
speak, dress or act like a black guy, Dave does the white man's voice. And I don't mean the nasal, ass-clenched white-man voice that most black comics perform. This is wholly different. This is the voice of a black man whose best friend, and sole co-writer on "Chappelle's Show" and "Half-Baked," is a white guy named Neal Brennan. This is the voice of a black man who grew up in DC but now lives somewhere in the sticks of Ohio with his Asian wife and two children. This is the voice of a black man who has met people of all ethnicities, creeds and denominations and has smoked copious amounts of ganja with them. Dave's Showtime Special was taped at the Fillmore in San Francisco, a venue countless musicians -- and Lenny Bruce -- have played. The last time I saw Dave in Dallas a year ago, he dropped this gem about avoiding the news after 9/11 because it got too scary: "I got all my news from white people in elevators. (beat) I though Enron was a nigger I went to high school with ... Enron's broke? Word?" Tune in. You'll see what I mean. A+ -- keith h.
BEING CALLED "NOT FUNNY" BY THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: When I got an e-mail saying McSweeney's wanted to include me in their humor anthology, I was thrilled. When I heard I'd get 200 bucks for it, I was thrilled. When Stephen J. Lyons reviewed the book in the August 15 Chicago Sun-Times and called me the "litmus test" as to whether one would find the book funny or not (he doesn't see why a child getting shot in the stomach is funny, which blows my mind), I was super thrilled. It's one thing to have a small article in a humor anthology that only nerdy hipsters are going to read. But to be trashed in a major market newspaper by a man who probably hasn't laughed at anything since "Cheers" went off the air is the one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. Thank you, Mr. Lyons, thank you from the bottom of this little boy's heart. A -- Jake Swearingen
BOB COSTAS: We have all come to accept the inane commentary accompanying parades and sporting events, but the opening night ceremony of the Olympics raised the bar to a new level. Why just throw out boring statistics about the average temperature in Algeria and exchange witty banter with Katie Couric when you can just be culturally insensitive? "Poor Indonesia." Bob Costas told us. Who knew that those folks weren't going to get to pull for their team while huddled around the television? "They don't have cable." He lamented, "They don't even get to see The Sopranos." Way to go, Bob. Oh, it didn't stop there. It continued for several hours until the OC President's speech, which did not, gasp, begin in English. "He just switched to English," blurted Bob as soon as a recognizable sound passed the OC President's lips, "much to our relief." Oh, Bob. We only found relief with the mute button. F -- L Dockstader
GAY ANTI-SMOKING ADS: When I first saw the billboard of two handsome, but not top shelf enough for Abercrombie, boys in matching tank tops with arms around each other and staring back at the street, I thought it had to be a joke. Until it started popping up all over town. Filling the empty space next to their meticulously messy hair was the tag line "We didn't come out of the closet to die from lung cancer." Since when did DeVry start offering classes in copy writing? Obviously, then, the assumption is that they came out of the closet to die from something but what? I'm sure whatever homophobes who've noticed this billboard have all just added a new zinger to their quivers of hate. Even better is the number to call for more info: 1-800-NO-BUTTS. Pardon the obvious, but what gay male is really going to dial that particular number? At least the genius behind this campaign wasn't English, because 1-800-NO-FAGS would have gone over like a fart in church. D -- Todd Munson
PETER PAN MOVIES: Johnny Depp aside, Finding Neverland is just another pirate-and-fairy tale based on the "true" story of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, whose life somehow parallels that of his famous character. Thank God, because we haven't had a Peter Pan movie since Peter Pan was released last December. Before that, not since 2002's Return to Neverland, 1991's Hook, 1953's Peter Pan, or 1924's Peter Pan has such an incredible story been told (unless you count the hundreds of theatrical and television versions). Are the Masons behind this? The Shriners? Is there a dozen haggard writers in a bunker beneath the city cranking out possible follow-ups as we speak? Is nobody else turned off by the idea of romanticizing a little boy who refuses to grow up? Did no one else date a drummer? It ain't all it's cracked up to be, Wendy. I mean, our best/worst living Pan example is Michael Jackson. If that doesn't scare the pixie dust out of Hollywood, then I might as well give up now and start writing my own version. Coming soon to a theater near you: The only Peter Pan movie that features killer robots, break dancers who have to save a youth center, and a sassy orangutan sidekick named Tinkerbelle. C- -- Kittenpants
WEBCRAWLER.COM'S SEARCH SPY: Ever wondered what that crazy sitting next to you in the Internet cafe was searching for? Well, wonder no more! Webcrawler, a free Internet search-bot, has a "Spy Search" option that lets you peek into the mysterious lives of those around you. Just link up, select your poison and watch the results stream in Real Time. You can choose filtered, for those 'non porn' searches, like toe-fungus, progesterone cream, bridal gowns and small business loans. Or for those with balls of steel, try unfiltered and find such things as Gary Coleman Porn, pornishere.com, or, just in the time for the Olympics, Nude Gymnastics. Several minutes of staring numbly at your screen will either make you believe that you are smarter than 90 percent of the Internet population, or it will teach that many, many people DO want to know what Tracy Lords looks like while getting ass-fucked. B+ -- Kate
NOT KNOWING WHICH ONE IS ALIEN AND WHICH ONE IS PREDATOR: I'm not a "chic geek", a "cool dork", or even your standard-grade, "stuffed-in-his-high-school-locker" kind of nerd. I got bored halfway into the first installment of Lord Of The Rings, never played a round of Magic the Gathering and couldn't tell you the plot of Attack of the Clones, even at gunpoint. So when I sat down to see the sci-fi opus Alien vs. Predator, it took me about 45 minutes to figure out which one was which. Considering I haven't seen an Alien film since the first one, and all I know about Predator is that it stars two future governors, the fact that I figured it out on my own was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. Oh, and the movie wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Pretty productive Saturday, if you ask me. C+ -- Joel Keller
OMAROSA'S CONTINUED EXISTENCE: For much of my schooling, I was stuck in honors classes with socially retarded overachievers like you. Freaks who jumped up and down waving their arms to answer math problems. It's plain as day that you were one of those arrogant know-it-alls who blindly staggered through life, choosing all the wrong extracurricular activities, like Math Team and French Club, while lecturing those who picked the right ones, like Funneling Beers and Smoking Angel Dust. People openly mock your diva behavior, and yet, and yet, you continue to lurch into the 37th minute of fame. Last week, a glutton for attention and punishment, you actually appeared at a fellow Apprentice cast member's wedding -- you know, the one you said was a racist on national TV. What balls! Your obliviousness to the fact the world openly loathes you is staggering; you're like Hitler at High Holiday services at this point. Please, put your hand down. No one's going to call on you. F -- Eric Gillin
BIKERS AGAINST CHILD ABUSE: He's huge. He's Tattooed. He's mean. He's six foot of Harley-riding, leather-wearing, beer-swilling thyroidal monstrosity. And he's all choked up about the volunteer ride coming up in September to benefit a women's and children's shelter in a crappy urban sprawl. Not only does this guy look way cooler than you ever will on a bike, and get to scare the hell out of yuppie suburbanites, but he puts his money where his mouth is and volunteers to benefit kids. Proof positive that you don't have to be weak whiny and wishy-washy to care about other people. A -- Randy
TRADING A GUY WHOM YOU JUST NABBED OFF THE WAIVER WIRE: By this time of the year, most dedicated fantasy sports players are looking forward to the annual football draft in the next week or so, meaning there's a few guys around who don't have their eye on the baseball. Which means sometimes you can dupe people into doing stupid things, like trading you a serviceable starting pitcher for a guy who was on Skid Row three hours earlier in your respective league. That's just rude. Feels good. A- -- David Gaffen
AMATEUR PORN: It always seems promising when you click on "Amateur." Hope looms that some gal from your small town is donning her bloomers for the boyfriend's eyes, only to have it on display for us unwashed masses after the torrid breakup. Fat chance. It's more likely some balloon-breasted nymph with a name ending in "i" is pleasuring herself with a railroad spike to a picture of Spiro Agnew. That's a PLENTY fine image, but I just can't fathom someone would do it without at least a small living stipend or a free lunch. There hasn't been a Geneva Convention of porn to lay out clear designations for these categories? If there were, would the Bush administration sign on? Sometimes we're just in the mood to see a lady we have a snowballs chance of seeing in real life, railroad spike or not. D- -- Joshua Post Lee
RESCUE ME: Denis Leary's new show is being touted by FX as "the best new series since The Sopranos -- and for good reason. Like that ponderous HBO juggernaut, Rescue Me's genius lies in its ability to shatter stereotypes and show its subjects in all of their gorgeous and fragile humanity. Blending wicked comedy with painfully intimate moments, this show takes our newly minted saints of strength--firefighters--and shows them as frightened, as horny, as brutish, as drunks, as fathers, as assholes, as lovers, as bigots, and, most important, as stunningly, recognizably human. A -- kmp
DEFINITIVE PROOF THAT GREAT THINGS HAPPEN TO GREAT PEOPLE: The Black Table went to the best wedding this weekend. BT contributor Mike Bruno and the lovely and awesome Liz Zack got themselves hitched, and we were honored enough to witness it. Now, you know how weddings are. People get so tied up in the particulars - "Should the boutonniere go on the left lapel or the right?" "Do we arrive at the reception hall at 5:35 or 5:37?" -- that the notion of love, the very reason everyone showed up in the first place, is often lost in the shuffle. But for one of the first times we could remember, everything at the wedding was steeped in that vague-but-gravitationally-irresistible concept of love. Whether it was the well-edited DVD intro of the couple's defining moments, Mike surprising everybody by breaking out his guitar and singing the Smashing Pumpkins' "Luna" to his new bride or reciting the most heartfelt, tear-duct-massaging hand-written vows to each other (read off a Palm Pilot!), every moment was a Valentine to the joy of spending your life with someone. In a scary world full of people -- like us -- who are either too cynical, too damaged or just too emotionally paralyzed to let themselves really believe, the wedding was the perfect antidote. Two awesome people, being true to each other and being smart enough to hang on tight and not screw it up. It's enough to make you want to fall in love every second of every day. Plus, there was an excellent open bar. A -- The Black Table
ORAL ETIQUETTE: I like oral stimulation as much as the next guy/girl, but when it comes to receiving fellatio from a girl who isn't willing to take her time, you can count me out. Don't get me wrong: I'm always appreciative of any form of pickle smooching offered. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to take my time. If I'm with a girl I don't know well, I feel obliged to hurry up, and I just don't find much fun in that. I like her to take her time, even as long as 45 minutes. [Insert audible gasp here]. Of course, I make it fair ... Even Steven. But ladies, please remember, if you're going to go down, have a heart and be in it for the long haul. Not all guys are minute men. B -- Will Minnig
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